Review: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

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April 13, 2015 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm


The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)
by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury Australia, 4 March 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: I bought it!
Rating: 4 stars!
Other books from author: The Winner’s Crime, The Winner’s Kiss (2016) & more

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Goodreads Synopsis

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

What I Thought…

I’ve had this book for a while, but it wasn’t until I got an eARC of The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) that I finally picked it up and gave it a go.  Despite all the hype, or perhaps as a result of the hype, I simply hadn’t been able to bring myself to read this.  Well.  Let’s just say I’m finally glad I did, because The Winner’s Curse was an amazing read.

While overall I loved this book, it took me a little while to get into it.  There isn’t a lot of time spent world building in the beginning; it seems to pick up somewhere in the middle of the land of Herrani, conquered by the Valorians, and goes from there.  Without time to read continuously, I struggled this each time I picked up the book and put it down.  Without that initial world-building that often takes place, it took a little while to stick in my brain.  But once it did, boy oh boy was I hooked!

The plot had so many twists and turns, once I finally got into it I couldn’t put the book down.  Not to mention that ending!  Let’s just say I was really glad to be able to jump straight into book #2 of the trilogy, although I’m sure I won’t be so happy to finish that one and wait a year for book #3!

Kestral’s world, and Rutkoski’s writing, is just so incredibly lush yet stark, all at the same time.  There’s so much beauty, and yet so much misery all at the one time.  The Herrani people are slaves to their Valorian masters, and The Winner’s Curse takes us through the brutality inflicted on the Herrani along with the beauty enjoyed by the Valorians.  Along the way, Kestral buys herself a Herrani slave, Arin.  In this simple action their world flips, and nothing will be the same for either of them ever again.

Kestral and Arin.  Arin and Kestral.  I shipped them SO HARD.  Their chemistry leapt off the pages and was incredibly difficult to resist!  Especially when they were bonding over common interests, like music… But as the General’s daughter, and indeed as a Valorian, the union of Kestral with Arin was nothing short of forbidden love.  That is, of course, what made it all the more irresistible.

Much like the cover, this book is enticing and seductive.  From pages 50 through to 350, I could hardly put it down!  I don’t usually read much fantasy, but The Winner’s Curse has captured my imagination and run amok with it.  If you love fantasy and forbidden romances, then this is definitely the book for you.

What did you think of this book?  Did you enjoy it?

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One thought on “Review: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

  1. pennma05 says:

    Glad to hear you liked this book! I will be reading this book next when I finish The 5th Wave.

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Hi! I'm Bernadette, a 27 year old lawyer who loves to read (duh!), especially to escape my day job. I love to talk about books but I don't always get the opportunity to do so, hence my blog! I adore YA literature, most genres of Adult Fiction, and I've also been known to pick up a non-fiction book from time to time. I hope you enjoy your visit!



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